If you ever wanted an excuse to start talking about yourself in the royal "we," here you go: we humans are not just human — we're also made up of about 100 trillion microbes that live on our skin, in our mouths, and in our guts. In fact, Michael Pollan says that when you count them all up, we're really only 10% human. What's more, studies are finding increasing evidence that we need these microbes for everything from helping us digest our food to feeling less stressed at work.
This is a long article, so I'll summarize: the bacteria in and on our bodies is (for the most part) doing us a lot of good and are in many cases downright essential to our well-being. What's troubling Michael Pollan and the scientists he talks to in this article is the increasing lack of diversity in our "microbiome" — the word used to describe the combination of our human body and its resident bacteria.
This lack of diversity might be caused by any number of things: our diet, our environment, too many antibiotics — just to name a few theories. But the tangible result seems to be people with more health problems.
What can we do? The answer — like the research behind it — is still being investigated. Michael Pollan's theory is to eat more fermented foods like kimchi, kombucha, yogurt, and sauerkraut.
Now that is some tasty advice that I can get behind. What do you think about all this?
→ Read the Article: Some of My Best Friends are Germs by Michael Pollan in The New York Times
(Image: How to Make Kombucha/Emma Christensen)